Monday, June 21, 2010

Simple Lesson

US musician John Lennon (R) and his japanese wife
Yoko Ono.... ...had to leave the comfort of their bed to try out
a Provo white bicycle which had been presented to them today.

I don't know why this old photo came up in a search at DayLife but it should be a textbook example of why socialism is flawed.

The white bicycle program in Amsterdam was how my generation was going to prove our superiority to our capitalist elders. The idea was that these community bicycles would be shared by all. When you needed to go somewhere you just found a white bike and took it to your destination. You then left the bike on the street for the next comrade to use. Our cooperation and love for our fellow man would ensure that the bikes were not abused. (remember, this was 1966, we had love in abundance, the streets were clogged with it)

That's what it was supposed to be. But human nature was involved. Why leave the bicycle on the street for the next guy when you knew you were going to have to make a return trip? What if it was gone when you came back? Best to take it inside then. And maybe take it inside when you got home too, because you know you've got to get to work early tomorrow... And maybe it'd be best to paint the thing black so that the busybody across the street will quit giving you a hard time about hoarding the bicycles.

Course everyone who used the bikes was in the same situation. And in the end, self interest trumped brotherly love. Within a month all the white bicycles were either stolen or thrown in the canals. Experiment over. Idealistic youth (including me) disillusioned.

Well some were disillusioned. Others refused to learn from the evidence and became stuck hippies.

This picture is great though, because it illustrates another aspect of the socialist experiment: preferential treatment for the elite. Hey, he's John Lennon; he gets the bike. Maybe grab one for his band-killer wife too.